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Tuesday 24th April 2018

Doctors' role misunderstood

12th May 2008

A report by the King’s Fund and the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has indicated that doctors' roles in the health service are unclear to patients and to their colleagues.


Entitled 'Understanding doctors: harnessing professionalism', the report makes it clear that doctors want to improve their relationships with patients, health service staff and politicians.

The information in the report is extracted from ten consultations which were held nationwide from 2006-2007. The consultations asked a wide range of people, including doctors, other NHS staff and patients, to think about what lay ahead for the health service and for doctors.

There were a number of "key issues" raised by the report. The dawn of the internet and new technologies has meant patients are "more informed" and have higher expectations.

Respondents thought clinical staff should be able to expand their careers by working in management roles and that doctors needed a strong joint voice to give them adequate representation in the public arena.

Over 40% of doctors who took part in the consultations said they were not of the opinion that doctors should "be prepared to be clinically responsible to other health professionals".

An Ipsos MORI poll carried out for the RCP, which accompanied the report, revealed that 90% of respondents said they "trusted their doctor to give accurate information; and almost as many trusted them to have their interests at heart".

Professor Ian Gilmore, RCP president, said: “Providing clarity of the doctor’s role is a key challenge, and fundamental to taking medical professionalism to its next phase."

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